Hoping to inspire an end to violence against women, the Cal Poly Gender Equity Center will host its second annual LoveFest in the University Union Plaza (UU) on Feb. 14. The celebration during UU hour will include music, raffle ticket sales, a flash mob and more to promote awareness about V-Day, “One Billion Rising” and the second anniversary of the Gender Equity Center.
V-Day is an organized global movement to end sexual violence and abuse against women and girls. The ‘V’ in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina. This year marks V-Day’s 15th anniversary, and this year’s spotlight campaign is “One Billion Rising.”
The hope of the movement is that one billion women from all over the world will dance or actively rise up somehow on Valentine’s Day in response to the statistic that today, on the planet, one billion women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.
“Africa, Afghanistan, Croatia and countries all over will be doing events and we want to be a part of this too,” Gender Equity Center and Safer coordinator Christina Kaviani said.
LoveFest coordinator Jordan Branch said the UU is the focal point of campus and a good place to raise awareness about these sorts of issues. The goal of the event is to get people to realize that violence against women is a global problem and remind students to think about the world around them every once in a while.
“We hold the event on Valentine’s Day because it is a day of love and happiness and we want people to remember that good things are just as prevalent as the bad,” Kaviani said.
There will be booths in the UU Plaza from the University Police Department, Mustang Maniacs, Cal Poly Athletics, Student Life and Leadership and others to support the cause. Candy Valentine’s Day grams, crafts and flowers will be sold.
The event in the UU Plaza from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. is primarily for students; however, there will also be an event at the Cal Poly Alumni House from 4 to 6 p.m. that will showcase the transition timeline of the Women’s Center to what is now the Gender Equity Center.
“The Women’s Center converted into the Gender Equity Center two years ago because we wanted to be open to everyone and focus on masculinity too, rather than just women’s issues,” Kaviani said. “People will come together at this later event. Crafts will be sold, there will be poetry, speaking, music and raffle tickets for goodies and baskets.”
Caitlin Fuller, director of “The Vagina Monologues,” thinks LoveFest will definitely become an annual Valentine’s Day tradition for Cal Poly as it is an event that truly celebrates love. She says students should check out LoveFest to get pumped and excited for the Vagina Monologues which will be held Feb. 15 to Feb. 17 in the Alex and Faye Spanos Theatre.
V-Day was founded in 1998 by playwright and activist Eve Ensler, who wrote the original award-winning play “The Vagina Monologues.” Funds and awareness are raised through benefit productions of “The Vagina Monologues” and other artistic works.
Cal Poly’s “Vagina Monologues” shows sell out quickly and all proceeds go toward ending violence against women and girls locally and globally.
“The funds we raise through ‘Vagina Monologues’ go back to our local women’s shelter and rape center,” Kaviani said. “Ten percent of the funds go to V-Day, specifically to the City of Joy in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo.”
The City of Joy will support the healing of women survivors of sexual violence and provide them with ways to develop their leadership. As many as 180 women each year will be provided with an opportunity to benefit from group therapy, storytelling, dance, theater, self-defense and comprehensive sexuality education. The purpose is to provide women a place to heal as they rebuild their lives and return back to their communities as leaders.